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Radio Interview

                                     

Terry Fleming

President/Founder

CJTS

Lethbridge, AB

 

 

Terry's Career Capsule

I started playing DJ in my basement with a good friend at 8 years of age.  SO it was always in my blood. Later my friend Jim became Vancouverís 3rd top DJ. I started at the age of 14 at a pirate station in Vancouver B.C. And legally at the age of 16 worked and apprenticed at the number one station CFUN in the third largest market at that time in Canada.  My career took off and for most of it (in secular radio) I was mainly known as The Legendary Terry Robert Fleming or the Ledge or TRF (TURF).  Although I am Canadian, my dad was an American citizen for 40 years and I felt I was always half American in a sense.  I lived in Pasadena Calf. three times and went to school there.  I was only known in the western part of Canada where I have dedicated my career, however as I have indicated I had many offers elsewhere.

I have had many offers to go the U.S. with my gifting including Spokane in a top morning position and outside Dallas as well but God had different plans for me so I ended.   In the late 90ís I was offered a morning position at SHINE FM 88.9 a brand new Christian radio station in (large market) Calgary Alberta, well large for this country.   After a short stint I went back to mornings at CFCP (at the time) in Courtenay B.C. on Vancouver Island.  Where God prepared me for being the earthly owner of a new Christian radio station in Lethbridge Alberta.  I had a vision since I started becoming a Christian to put a station there.  Some new Christian friends that started a station in Thunder Bay, Ontario and an owner and technician who I later talked to and met from Timmins Ontario who God put in my face helped me by confirmation to get things going.  We went back to Lethbridge where I worked in radio and TV for (off and on 24 years) to start Spirit 97 FM.  My wife at the time, and myself had no jobs and no money.  It was truly one of Godís miracles.

1. Tell us about your market and how it is unique?

Lethbridge is a unique market, and although we have a huge listenership, and 3 University surveys prove that many Christians do not support the station and havenít for almost 6 years.  They call it a huge Bible belt, Christian base. I call it a religious base, thereís a big difference.  Unlike our American counterparts, and there is huge proof of this, American Christians and Canadian Christians are so different, in attitude.  In the United States two small communities will support two small Christians stations, but here, and all my friends who manage or own Christians stations agree, one large city will not support one small Christian station, and that is so sad.   We are actually supported by non-believers because they know the strength of getting their message across to thousands of Christians and how faithful they are listening, which they are.

 

2. What is the most fulfilling aspect to you personally about Christian radio?

The most fulfilling to me personally about Christian radio is the positive music and message we send to families.  You know that on the majority of Christian stations if not all of them, you will hear a clean joke on the morning show, not sexist, or sex comments. And even if itís corny you will hear real "from the heart" laughter in most cases and a positive driven atmosphere for the family when they are listening at any given time day or night, that is quite a refreshing feeling in todayís shock jock radio in many Provinceís and States these days.   Some think itís cute to hear swearing but even young non Christian women today are fed up with the cut-downs and sex comments Ė as we see in the last days changes are coming, they are slow but coming.  And finally the most fulfilling is knowing and feeling that we are planting seeds for people to come to Christ.  Are we successful?  I know God intends us to do what we all should be doing spreading the music and words of Christ to the nations or in our cases, to as many listeners in our area as possible.  When people tune in they have no idea that we are sending the Gospel of Christ and His music to the Senior Pastors, co pastors, youth pastors, Praise and Worship pastors,  Praise and Worship leaders, teams and congregations of over 100 or more Churches in our area alone.  Satan doesnít like any of us Christian stations at all, he hates our guts, but we feel a mutual thought there or two as well.  We arenít there to please anyone but God and as his children we do it and try and be obedient.

 

3. How do you personally keep the ministry in the business?

I donít keep the ministry going in the business, God does with his love, understanding, finances and mercy and grace.  There are times I swear that I have said ďLord, whatís with this programĒ.  How is it you come through every time for us, and we are scraping so bad we can barely make payroll.  But God always comes through.  One person once said to me, (when they knew we were almost going broke), I hate these lines by the way, ďitís okay, if God wants this station to stay alive it willĒ.  How many times do Christians say that to us?  I told this person and a few after, ďGod wants a thousand stations on the air, one on every corner, and 20 Christian bands in very city, donít blame him all the time, he wants his children to help and not sit on their duffs and say the familiar line above, "If itís Gods will", etc, etc. Of course it is His will but his children are not supporting it in finances or prayer, well at least not some.

 

4. What is the criteria that determines if a song receives airplay on your station?

We donít have huge influence on songs being aired.  Many smaller stations like ours are not music leaders although we have stepped out a few times I must admit in the past going on six years.  A song on CJTS (Spirit 97 FM) gets airplay when we check CMC and three major stations in Canada; VOAR, my friend Scott Jacksonís station LIFE 100.3 in Barrie Ontario,  and Bob Dubroy at C in Ottawa our nationsí Capital.  Then we listen to it and go from there.  Itís a very tough job (decision) when we have 40 CDís come in a week and some are awful, and everyone including Christians want to be heard.  We have to be like secular stations but with prayer on deciding because everyone and their kids are making CDís, Iím sure glad they have the bucks.

 

5. What kind of promotions work best for your station?

Until we lost a ton of revenue the past 2 years, we have been even more of a promotional station than the secular ones in our area.  Where we are in Lethbridge, we have six stations and 3 TV stations, including Canadaís first Christian television station the Miracle Channel which although is Canada wide now and will soon be in the United States. It is based in Lethbridge Alberta.

 

6. How do you think Christian Record labels can better serve Christian radio?

I think Christian labels can serve a great purpose, but to be blunt and I always am, I have been in music myself, 12 string and electric guitar and lead vocals since I was 14.  Things have changed radically.  Now some artists, yes even Christian ones, are to much into themselves and think they donít have to PR.  WRONG!  You need like the old days, to get out and promote yourself, your wife, husband, and even if you're backed by a big agent, GET OUT and introduce yourselves.  PR, promote your CD or you; I know this is not scriptural but it still works, and I believe it to be true, God helps those who help themselves.  You canít make a CD, sit around all day and pray, ďOh God make me a hit please. Itís like sitting around all day after job hunting and saying, ďOh gee God, that stupid phone hasnít been ringing at all and I prayed for a job.  Get out and promote yourself, sell yourself to the radio/TV media, promoters, donít sit on your posterior exterior, get out and do something.

 

7. In your opinion what are the biggest obstacles facing Christian radio today?

In my opinion the biggest obstacle facing Christian radio today? Well many things.  The rules of the government, human rights even under Christian leaders, which both countries have right now, need to be changed.  You have George W. Bush who prays over everything he does and that has been proven and written, and our new Prime Minister Harper also Christian, but not as deep as Bush, who has top morals about running the country.  Problem is, there are so many people who are opposed to Christian prayer in schools, now a big no no, and many other religions are allowed to voice their opinions but Christians (also recognized) as a religion we have no say it seems.  So that is a huge obstacle.  I think in Canada we have to have a ton of rules unlike the U.S. to run a Christian station.  If we run Dobson or someone else like Dr. Jeremiah, we have to counter it with a balance program which here means run a program of Jewish decent or some other which is absolutely absurd but nevertheless has to be done.  I think it's ridiculous.  At least in the U.S. your Christian stations have more freedom than here.  Most on the CRTC like your FCC have no radio experience whatsoever and are all bureaucratic and a lot is plain socialism. The last big obstacle facing Christian radio today besides freedom is support.  If our own Christians at least here in Canada canít support us then why are we even bothering playing radio.  I believe it is what God wants us to do regardless.  We canít just stop fighting until Godís army wins but it is very tough if the support from Christians is weak, and it is.

 

8. What do you believe is the primary role of the Christian radio air personality today?

The primary role of the Christian radio air personality today is to show love, and share stories, jokes on air, which is Godís GREATEST medicine, and the music of his children that reflects back to a soothing, loving, blessed feeling when listened to.  The programs and Christian music which bring new people to Christ, thatís what we are supposed to do, not sit in Church every Sunday and warm the pews.  Get out and be contagious in Jesus, or in Christian radio cases do it from our airwaves.  This is not just a radio station to me playing Christian music, it is a ministry unto itself.  It takes prayer warriors to help employees, volunteers and relatives and friends so that the all-Christian radio stations can always be covered by prayer.  Our small station 97 Spirit FM starts itís day off every day without fail in going on six years with prayer, and no Christian TV or radio station should be without it ever.  Some should even have daily intercessors praying for it.  If you can imagine what a Priest or Pastor must go through with enemy attacks, imagine what we go through as leaders running and operating Christian radio, playing the music and putting out the Gospel of Jesus over the airwaves. Satan doesnít like us, of course we donít like him either, but he will keep trying and using people and things and equipment to do his best.

 

9. What (if any) other Christian radio stations do you consider as innovators today?

Well, I think WAY FM is one, as well to give equal billing to K-LOVE, and the reason is they are expanding with a chain all over the U.S.  None have been as successful.  In Canada we have a number of stations and with exception to a few are all independent but broke.  There are a few big chain organizations that own a couple of Christian stations, but nothing in Canada like WAY FM or K-LOVE that have bought stations and repeaters all over to spread Christian radio here like the States.  The major reason this has never happened is the tough Religious (they call it) rules from the CRTC.  The FCC at least is more lenient with Christian radio big time than here.  We are always fighting for things and it will be many years before this finally stops.  You have overdone rules here in Canada, which prevents people wanting to bother with Christian radio.  Yes itís getting better but a long way to go still.

 

10. Where do you see Christian radio in 5 years?

I see Christian radio in five years from now in more towns and cities in the U.S. but in Canada still only a couple of dozen to do the rules which some days give me a migraine.  In the biggest cities in Canada we donít even have Christian radio.  Vancouver B.C. Ė Montreal Quebec, Toronto Ontario to name a few.  We had one for 4 Ĺ years in Vancouver B.C. and it went broke.  I pray Christian radio in Canada becomes even more evident and spreads rapidly like our U.S. brothers and sisters in Christian radio.  I pray this big time.  I myself have sold my station and with CRTC approval which after lengthy hearings may grant the owner to go ahead (he owns 26 stations)  or they may not, who knows with the CRTC.  But I am going on to consult and try to start more stations in my spare time, yes I charge a fee for that, it isn't free.  I may also decide to move to Oregon or NC.  If you would like to contact me or if you need a good morning man for your Christian station and an almost former owner in Christian radio, please e-mail me at terry@terryfleming.net or terry@spiritfm.ca thanks for the plug Ted.  God bless all who listen, support or want to start a Christian radio station.  Please donít ever think for a moment that itís a cool ride.  Easy to do.  Itís hard work and long hours but Praise be to God right?

 

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